Corns and Calluses

Description

  • Corns and calluses are a build up of thick skin on the foot.
  • They are part of the body’s defence system to protect the underlying tissues.
  • A foot corn and callus can range from being mildly uncomfortable to painful and debilitating.
  • Calluses often appear on the bottom of the foot around the forefoot, as well as the heel and around the sides and tips of the toes.
  • Hard Corns can occur on the top and sides of toes and also along the bottom of the foot.
  • Soft Corns in most cases appear between the toes.
  • People with certain medical conditions, skin types or who undertake certain activities may be more prone to developing corns and calluses.
  • Corns and calluses sustained due to heavy weight bearing activities such as running or hiking, if left untreated may further develop into blisters or even ulcers and infection.
  • Corns and calluses are a risk factor for people with diabetes or poor sensation and/or circulation as they can potentially contribute to the development of foot ulcers

Causes

  • Corns and calluses occur when something rubs against the foot repeatedly or causes excess pressure against part of the foot.
  • Excessive pressure at the balls of the feet—such as regularly wearing high heels or tight fitting footwear —may cause calluses to develop in this area.
  • Shoes that are too big, or the wrong fit for your foot shape can also cause friction and contribute to the development of corns and calluses.
  • People with certain foot shapes (excessively flat or high arched) or with deformities of the foot, such as hammertoes, are more prone to corns and calluses.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Calluses typically have a rough, dull appearance
  • Calluses may be raised or rounded, and they can be hard to differentiate from warts
  • Calluses may be painful or cause a sensation of numbness
  • Corns are often funnel shaped and dig into the skin rather than protrude out
  • Corns can be particularly painful, as they tend to intensify the pressure into one spot
  • Corns may develop into ulcers if left untreated
  • Corns may feel like a stone or pebble stuck under your foot.
  • Corns may be hard or soft depending on the location on the foot.
  • Soft corns develop between the toes and in places where skin is pinched between underlying bones.
  • Diabetics are at risk if they develop corns or calluses

Treatment

  • Removal of the corn or callus with the use of a specialist instrument
  • Biomechanical evaluation
  • Footwear advice
  • Orthotics to redistribute pressure
  • Use of appropriate emollients to keep the skin hydrated and prevent build up
  • Advice for ongoing self care and prevention of the reoccurrence of this complaint
  • Diabetics and people with poor circulation or neuropathy should have their feet checked and treated regularly.